The problem started at a PECO substation at 9th and Lombard streets.
Water got into some transmission equipment, and that set off a chain reaction.
The ice cream was melting fast at More Than Just Ice Cream on Locust Street.
The power went out at 11:30 a.m., just before the lunch time rush.
When the cash register should have been ringing, the tables were empty and profits were melting away.
The spot outages hit east of Broad Street and between Race and South streets.
The timing couldn't have been worse for hundreds of eateries.
"It hurts. It breaks your heart. We have turned a lot of customers, but we have served a few," Gabe Marabello of Marabello's Meatball Company said.
Hungry customers were having a hard time finding lunch.
"We've been all over the city, this side of our work, and we can't find a restaurant," James Jones of Hershey, Pa. said.
Residents of apartment buildings were also affected.
They had no A.C. and, in some cases, no water.
Blame the rain water.
It apparently got in through a hole in the roof of the substation.
It took four hours to restore power because PECO workers had to go into manholes around the city switching the affected customers to other circuits.
It was a long, costly outage for Center City merchants.